Greek City Times is proud to present a weekly historical snapshot from the archives of the ‘In Their Own Image: Greek-Australians’  national project by photographer Effy Alexakis and historian Leonard Janiszewski.


Today’s story features the wonderful Zoe Carides. We interviewed Zoe in 1997 but knew of her work long before then; in theatre, in films, as a voiceover artist and a musician. She has a very unique and recognizable voice and features in many voiceover promotions. More recently (before the start of last year's lockdown), we saw her perform as Nancy Sinatra in a tribute band. I like this portrait of her - I took several different shots but chose this quirky, centre composition. Big kudos to Zoe for working and having such a long career in a fickle and difficult industry.


Zoe Carides © Effy Alexakis

Zoe Carides is well established as an actor in Australian theatre, television and film. For her role in the feature film of David Williamson’s play ‘Brilliant Lies’, (1996) Zoe received an Australian Film Industry Nomination for Best Supporting Actress. In 1990 she featured in ‘Death in Brunswick’ starring Sam Neill and John Clarke.

Born in London in 1962, Zoe’s parents were Chris (Christoforos) Carides and Noni (Noelie) Hobart. Zoe is the eldest of three sisters. Gia (Georgia), whose acting resume has also grown impressively, is the second eldest, followed by Danni (Danielle).

‘Mum was always singing around the house, and stopping when sh was doing the vacuuming to do a bit of a dance, and a bit of a show for us...Dad used to sing too, and he was always doing accents. He suffused us with a love of movies, certainly, and I used to stay up with him watching old movies late into the night. I did all the impressions of the old movie stars by the time I was eight, from his impressions. Mum would take us places. she used to make sure that we saw lots of films and lots of live theatre and lots of ballet...Some parents are like that, but their kids don't necessarily grow up to be performers...So when I was really little, I knew I wanted to perform..As I got older sometimes I'd change my mind and I was going to be a poet..or a journalist..but then I'd sway back towards an unreal job – being an actor..

I’ve always said to people: “My father’s Greek, my mother’s English”... I do feel like I’ve got those two parts in equal shares... The Greekness in me gets woken frequently – the music, Zorba the Greek, it always gives me a lump in my throat... or of memories of the Greek weddings and dances we attended... When I was sixteen or seventeen, I met some people at a theatre company who marvelled at the “exoticness” of my Greekness... yet, at that age, I always wanted to look like any of the Australian [British-Australian] girls... I got called a wog quite frequently... I’ve played Greek roles quite happily but I’ve also played Anglo roles... I don’t want to be slotted simply into that “Greek girl” role.’

- by Leonard Janiszewski


Since the early 1980s, Effy Alexakis, a photographer, along with historian researcher Leonard Janiszewski, have been travelling around Australia photographing and collecting stories. They have also photographed Greek-Australians in Greece and documented some amazing histories. The images and text provide personal, diverse and powerfully moving insights, about opportunities, hopes and challenges. Collectively, these stories provide personal perspectives of a diasporic Hellenic identity. Their archive encompasses photography, both historical and contemporary, taped interviews and literary materials.

They have published three books and numerous articles, and their projects are ongoing. The photographs have been widely exhibited throughout Australia and Greece.

VISIT THEIR LATEST PROJECT:  Greek Cafés & Milk Bars of Australia | Facebook



Guest Contributor

This piece was written for Greek City Times by a Guest Contributor